Housing market 'saw small bounce in June' as buyers start to return to market

9 July 2020, 00:04

The housing market saw a small boost in June
The housing market saw a small boost in June. Picture: PA

By Maddie Goodfellow

The number of house hunters rebounded in June as buyers started to return to the market.

However, property professionals were cautious about the year ahead, according to surveyors.

A net balance of 61% of professionals saw new buyer inquiries increase rather than decrease over the month, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Rics) said.

This was in stark contrast to readings of minus 7% and minus 94% posted in April and May respectively.

The number of new properties being listed for sale also increased in June, with a net balance of 42% of survey participants noting an increase rather than decrease.

Despite the increase in supply, the average number of properties on agents' books remained close to all-time lows in June - at just 39 on average per branch.

Buyers have started to return to the market
Buyers have started to return to the market. Picture: PA

As agents continue to deal with a backlog of sales held up by the coronavirus lockdown, the number of newly agreed sales moved into positive territory for the first time since February, with a net balance of 43% of professionals citing an increase in completed transactions.

But there was greater caution when looking to the year ahead. Rics said many comments it gathered indicated that the challenging economic climate is likely to dampen market conditions for some time to come.

The survey also indicated that house prices continued to decline in June, although the mood was less downbeat than in May.

A net balance of 15% of surveyors reported prices falling rather than increasing, which was less negative than a balance of 22% seeing this in May.

Simon Rubinsohn, Rics chief economist, said: "Key activity indicators in the Rics survey suggest that the market is enjoying a short-term bounce following ending of the lockdown, with sharp spikes in the metrics tracking both buyer inquiries and new instructions."

In his summer statement on Wednesday, Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced a cut to stamp duty for houses up to £500,000 effective immediately and to run until 31st March 2021.

It could save some people up to £15,000 - which is how much Stamp Duty would've cost those buying a £500,000 property under the previous rules.

He said: "The average stamp duty bill will fall by £4,500. And nearly nine out of 10 people buying a main home this year, will pay no stamp duty at all."

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